Thames entered play on Tuesday having homered in five consecutive starts and belted six homers in all against the Blue Jays, White Sox and A's to help the Yankees cover their power bases while Alex Rodriguez is on the disabled list.
"I'm just trying not to miss my pitch," Thames said. "You just can't give away at-bats. You never know how the game is going to go, especially here at the Stadium. Balls can get out of here in a hurry. You have to make sure you have good at-bats."
Thames has proven himself among the best offseason imports among a crop that has largely floundered, with the likes of Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Chan Ho Park having run their course in the Bronx. Thames had to win a job during Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, and he has made the Yankees appear wise for selecting him.
"He's swung the bat for us all year long, really well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We lost him for a while with the hamstring injury, but he's come back and adapted to DHing really well with the way he's swinging the bat."
Thames has accumulated 10 homers and 58 RBIs in 151 at-bats, wowing even his most productive teammates.
"That was good," Cano said of Thames' fifth-inning homer on Monday. "That's a guy that we need in the lineup when we don't have A-Rod."
With Lance Berkman scheduled to return from a rehab assignment on Wednesday, the Yankees will have a decision to make regarding their designated hitter slot. For his part, Thames isn't surprised that he has happened upon a power groove.
"I'm playing a little more," Thames said. "Every year I've been playing, at one point in time every season, I've run into something like this. It's just more at-bats consistently and hitting the ball pretty good."
-- Bryan Hoch